CLYDE striker Michael Daly has enjoyed a fantastic beginning and an unbelievable end at Ibrox in the past and he now wants to go the whole hog and have an amazing beginning, middle and end when his side meets Rangers in the Petrofac Training Cup tonight.
Daly said: “I played at Ibrox in a midweek game with Annan almost two years ago and I remember doing the warm up and being disappointed that there was only a small crowd there. However, by the time kick-off came there was 45,000 in the ground.”
“When we lined up in the tunnel there was a real sense of occasion and when Simply The Best started playing the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. You have mixed emotions as you are inspired by what is going around all around you but are also nervous as it is very different to what you are used to.
“It was case of sticking my chest out and looking to do my best.”
Annan’s best was not good enough that night. “We lost 3-0 but it could have turned out differently,” said Daly. Rangers had Lee Wallace sent off when it was 0-0 for conceding a penalty but unfortunately Scott Chaplain missed it.”
While the start to that game had Daly excited it was the ending to his next visit that left him buoyant. “Annan went there in the March and we won 2-1,” said Daly. “That time I played only for the last few minutes but I treasure them as it was a game I did not think I would be involved in.”
Just two weeks before it had become known that Daly had signed a pre-contract agreement with Clyde and it looked like the striker’s end of season move was going to cost him a second opportunity to play in front of a huge crowd.
Daly said: “My girlfriend Lynne was pregnant and I wanted my football to be closer to home and that was the reason for me leaving Annan. When we played Clyde on the Saturday before the Rangers game I was not even in the 16.
“I could understand that to an extent and then I spent all week wondering if I would get back in for the Rangers game. I found out on the Saturday that I would be on the bench and it was great to be on the park when the final whistle went.”
Daly added: “Whilst I did not feel that I had contributed a massive amount to the win I did enjoy the celebrations afterwards and I was pleased for the boss Jim Chapman.
“He had not won a game since he had started a couple of months before and he had taken a chance by including me that day so it was good that he got some success.”
The 28-year-old is now facing a similar selection dilemma as he does not know manager Barry Ferguson’s plans for him.
Daly said: “It would be amazing to be part of something similar with Clyde from the beginning and then all the way through to a winning end. However, like the second Annan game I have spent all week wondering what my involvement will be. I have not started a game this season and I never came off the bench in the first two games. However, last Saturday I came on and scored the winner against my old club Queen’s Park. I would love to be involved from the beginning and feel the same way I did at Annan’s first visit.”
If he is not there will be no tantrums from Daly. “If I am not starting then I will respect the manager’s decision and be content that I did all I could when I got the chance to impress him,” he said.
While the front-man says that he will rest content with the former Rangers’ skipper’s decision he will not be able to content himself in the lead to the team being announced.
The automotive engineering technician at New College Lanarkshire is going to go into his work today to take his mind off what his role will be tonight. “Some of the boys are taking a full day or a half day off to help them get ready for Rangers,” he said. “I could take time off but all I would do is wonder if I am playing so I am better off at work.
“We all felt a sense of fate when we were drawn against either Rangers or Hibs. We knew it would be Rangers because of the manager’s history with them, however he has not dwelt on it saying only that he wants us to go there and win.”
“He is a winner and wants us to be the same. If he wants me to come off the bench and have an impact then good but if he wants me to start I am up for that.”